Calling the issue of black money an “article of faith” for him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said that as per his understanding and the information available to him, the government was on the “right track” in the matter.
“As far as black money is concerned… please believe this pradhan sevak of yours… it is an article of faith for me. It is my commitment that every penny belonging to the poor of India should come back,” Modi said in his second ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address on All India Radio.
Admitting that there may be a “difference of opinion” on the ways and means to deal with this issue, the PM said this was natural in a democracy but the government was progressing in the right direction.
“Nobody knows, not me, not the government, not you, not the previous government, as to how much money is abroad. Everybody gives his own figure depending on own calculations. Main un aankdon mein ulajhna nahin chahta hoon. Meri pratibadhhta yeh hai — do rupaya hai, paanch rupaya hai, crore hai, arab hai ki kharab hai… jo bhi hai, yeh desh ke garibon ka paisa hai, wapas aana chahiye (I don’t want to get caught in the figures. My commitment is that — whether it is Rs 2, 5, a crore or a billion — whatever it is, it is the money of the country’s poor, and must be brought back),” Modi said.
He assured the people that he would leave no stone unturned in the matter. “I will keep on doing whatever I need to do for you, I assure you of that.”
Inviting suggestions on how to tackle drug abuse among youths, the PM said he would talk about this in his next radio address. “I know that I am touching upon subjects that bring the government under a scanner. But for how long will we keep hiding things? For how long will we keep pushing things behind the curtain? We’ll have to take risks at some point for the sake of good endeavours. I am daring to do so… because of your love,” Modi said.
Stating that no one could have imagined that the Swachhta Abhiyaan would become such a “mass movement”, he said that good results were already visible. He also expressed satisfaction that people from all walks of life who come to meet him — from government officers and sportspersons to cine-stars, businessmen and scientists — talk about taking responsibility for social issues ranging from cleanliness to education to social service to how family life was getting destroyed.
The PM said that he was noticing a big change even among businessmen, who could be expected to talk about their self-interest. Now they were talking more about taking responsibilities to improve society, he said.
Modi showered praise on officers of the Ministry of Human Resource Development for coming up with two “innovative” schemes for specially abled children — a thousand scholarships for them to enable them to pursue technical education, and a grant of Rs 1 lakh each to all Kendriya Vidyalayas and Central universities to create appropriate infrastructure for the specially abled.
The sale of khadi had increased by more than 125 per cent in the week after he asked people to buy at least one khadi item in his first Mann Ki Baat address on October 3, the PM added.
Talking about his visit to Siachen and interaction with soldiers there on Diwali, Modi said he went there because the country could celebrate the festival only because of them. He also congratulated Armymen who recently won the Cambrian Patrol event in Britain, in which armies from 140 countries had participated.
Those who could not access social media sites like Facebook and Twitter or send him e-mail could send their suggestions to him through letters addressed to ‘Mann Ki Baat’ at the All India Radio’s address in the Capital, the PM said.